Web Publishing with WordPress

11Jan - by Alan - 0 - In Web & Internet
WordPress
WordPress

WordPress is a free and open-source tool and a content management system (CMS) based on PHP and MySQL. Features include a plugin architecture and a template system. WordPress was used by more than 23.3% of the top 10 million websites as of January 2015. WordPress is the most popular blogging system in use on the Web, at more than 60 million websites.

Domain Names & Website Hosting

Your new website will need a web address (aka ‘domain name’) and a computer attached to the internet, where you can build it. There’s a few options to consider:

Domain Name

This is the human-friendly name, like ‘Google.co.uk’ that people will use to get onto your website (it gets translated into an IP address, which is a bunch of numbers, but people won’t normally see that). It’s important to choose a meaningful name so that people and search engines like Google get a clue what your site is about. If you’re a carpenter you might like ‘carpenter.com’. Sadly, that name’s already taken, but ‘bridgend-carpenter.com’ is available (at the time of writing). How do I know? There are several companies that sell domain names, such as 123-reg.co.uk (others are available). They have a box into which you can type your desired name. Just type the name without ‘www.’ or ‘.com’ – they’ll let you know which ones are available. Sorry, you can’t have Insurance.com, it sold for $35.6 million in 2010! However, ‘bridgend-carpenter.co.uk’ is available for £6.98 for 2 years (at the time of writing). The bit at the end – .com or .co.uk, or .uk in Tuxar.uk’s case, is known as the ‘top-level domain’ (TLD). Many TLDs are available, but they vary in price (.co.uk is the cheapest).

We recommend you start thinking about your domain name asap, so that you have time to mull over the options, and sleep on it. You may need to be creative…

A good domain name should normally include a word or phrase that tells people what you do and/or where you are – you’ll get a boost in the search engines. Or you may choose – as we did – to go for a short memorable name like Google or Amazon or Tuxar (Tux is the Linux mascot, AR is Alan’s initials. And it’s like Pixar). When you have a good idea, check if it’s available.

Web Hosting

You’ll need an internet-connected computer to host your website. While it’s entirely possible to do that on your own computer, you’ll almost certainly be better off using a professional web hosting company. There are many available, here and abroad. We host our sites on pair Networks in the USA, for historic reasons. There is very little delay in loading a web site, but a UK host will naturally be slightly faster to load. Here are some suggestions:

  • Heart Internet
  • UKFast
  • 123-reg
  • Fast Hosts
  • TsoHost
  • More & more

Some (or most, probably all) of them can also sell you a domain name. You need to shop around. We can’t guarantee any of them, but: TsoHost seems to have a good reputation. We’ve used Heart Internet (go there if you like Suzy Perry!) but reverted to pair Networks to consolidate our sites. We use 123-reg for domain names, and they do also offer WordPress hosting.

WordPress.com

If your requirements are fairly simple, you can get a FREE website at WordPress.com (note that the website where you get WordPress themes and plugins is WordPress.org). However, you’ll be limited to a relatively small number of themes, and no plugins, and you have to pay a small fee if you want to use your own domain name with it – otherwise your domain name will be like ‘bridgend-carpenter.wordpress.com’. This might be perfectly fine if you just want to test the waters before going through all the hoopla above! Here are some example sites. Here’s a comparison of their Free, Premium, and Business plans. Here’s a list of features.

TIME, CNN, TED, Boing Boing, and TechCrunch (among many others) are all hosted on WordPress.com.

The $64,000 Question: WordPress.com or WordPress.org?

WordPress.com
Focus on your beautiful content, and let us handle the rest.
WordPress.org
Get your hands dirty, and host your website yourself.
Premium hosting, security, and backups are included. You can even upgrade to a custom domain, like YourGroovyDomain.com. You’ll need to find a host, and perform backups and maintenance yourself. We offer VaultPress for security and backups.
Choose from hundreds of beautiful themes. Make it your own with Custom Design. Install custom themes. Build your own with PHP and CSS.
Integrate your site with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and other social networks. Install a plugin, like Jetpack, to enable sharing functionality on your site.
Popular features like sharing, stats, comments, and polls are included. There’s no need to install plugins. Install plugins to extend your site’s functionality.
Personal support and the WordPress.com forums are always available. Visit the WordPress.org support forums for assistance.
You must register for an account on WordPress.com and abide by our Terms of Service. No registration with WordPress.org is required.

You Can Always Move Your Website

So long as you don’t sign up for a long contract (e.g. a year or more) you can always move your site if you find something better (you can move it anyway but you’ll lose the money you paid), and then you can arrange to ‘point’ your domain name to the new site. However, it may take a few hours for the new address to spread across the internet.

Introduction to WordPress

WordPress started in 2003 as a free, open-source website building and blogging tool. As of Jan 2012, over 24% of new websites are powered by WordPress. It is the most popular website building application in the world, used for everything from building quick and easy small business sites and blogs to powerful, corporate Content Management System (CMS) websites.

With WordPress, you can create any type of website you want: a personal blog or website, a photoblog, a business website, a professional portfolio, a government website, a magazine or news website, an online community, even a network of websites. You can make your website beautiful with themes, and extend it with plugins.

The Dashboard

WP-board

Along the top: Left side:
  • WordPress links
  • Site Title
  • # of updates, if any
  • # of Comments waiting
  • + New – click to add stuff
  • Edit Page
  • Possibly others, put up by plugins
  • Howdy (Ugh!) Alan
  • Search
On the left side of the screen is the main navigation menu detailing each of the administrative functions you can perform. Move your mouse down the list and the sub-menus will “fly out” for you to move your mouse to and click. Once you choose a “parent” navigation section, it will open up to reveal the options within that section.

 

Adding Content

Posts & pages are fairly similar, but the differences are important! Pages are usually informative content that won’t age very quickly, and they usually go into the site menu(s). Posts are usually newsy or chatty content, suitable for blogs. Categories are major topic areas, tags are labels that identify a topic that’s mentioned but isn’t necessarily the main topic.

You can create Posts and Pages, format them easily, insert media, and with the click of a button your content is live and on the web. WordPress makes it easy for you to manage your content. Create drafts, schedule publication, and look at your post revisions. Make your content public or private, and secure posts and pages with a password.WP-edit

Descriptions of Post Fields

Title
The title of your post. You can use any phrases, words or characters. Avoid using the same title twice as that will cause problems. You can use commas, apostrophes, quotes, hypens/dashes, and other typical symbols in the post like “My Site – Here’s Lookin’ at You, Kid”. WordPress will then clean it up to generate a user-friendly and URL-valid name of the post (also called the “post slug”) to compose the permalink for the post.
Post Editing Area
The blank box where you enter your writing, links, links to images, and any information you want to display on your site. You can use either the Visual or the Text view to compose your posts. For more on the Text view, see Visual Versus Text View.
Preview button
Allows you to view the post before officially publishing it.
Publish box
Contains buttons that control the state of your post. The main states are Published, Pending Review, and Draft. A Published status means the post has been published on your blog for all to see. Pending Review means the draft is waiting for review by an editor prior to publication. Draft means the post has not been published and remains a draft for you. If you select a specific publish status and click the update post or “Publish” button, that status is applied to the post. For example, to save a post in the Pending Review status, select Pending Review from the Publish Status drop-down box, and click Save As Pending. (You will see all posts organized by status by going to Administration Panels > Posts > Edit). To schedule a post for publication on a future time or date, click “Edit” in the Publish area next to the words “Publish immediately”. You can also change the publish date to a date in the past to back-date posts. Change the settings to the desired time and date. You must also hit the “Publish” button when you have completed the post to publish at the desired time and date.
Publish box
Visibility – This determines how your post appears to the world. Public posts will be visible by all website visitors once published. Password Protected posts are published to all, but visitors must know the password to view the post content. Private posts are visible only to you (and to other editors or admins within your site)
Permalink
Permalink stands for “permanent link”. That means a post URL that does not expose the post ID which could be subject to a change (e.g. when moving to different blogging system), but it rather contains a user-friendly post name derived from the post title which could also change, although not recommended, but in a more controllable way. This post name (also referred to as “post slug” or just “slug”) can be edited, depending on your Permalinks settings, using the “Edit” button. (To change your settings, go toAdministration Panels > Settings > Permalinks). The permalink is automatically generated based on the title you set to the post and is shown below the title field. Punctuation such as commas, quotes, apostrophes, and invalid URL characters are removed and spaces are substituted with dashes to separate each word. If your title is “My Site – Here’s Lookin’ at You, Kid”, it will be cleaned up to create the slug “my-site-heres-lookin-at-you-kid”. You can manually change this, maybe shortening it to “my-site-lookin-at-you-kid”.
Save
Allows you to save your post as a draft / pending review rather than immediately publishing it. To return to your drafts later, visit Posts – Edit in the menu bar, then select your post from the list.
Publish
Publishes your post on the site. You can edit the time when the post is published by clicking the Edit link above the “Publish” button and specifying the time you want the post to be published. By default, at the time the post is first auto-saved, that will be the date and time of the post within the database.
Post Tags
Refers to micro-categories for your blog, similar to including index entries for a page. Posts with similar tags are linked together when a user clicks one of the tags. Tags have to be enabled with the right code in your theme for them to appear in your post. Add new tags to the post by typing the tag into the box and clicking “Add”.
Categories
The general topic the post can be classified in. Generally, bloggers have 7-10 categories for their content. Readers can browse specific categories to see all posts in the category. To add a new category, click the “+Add New Category” link in this section. You can manage your categories by going to Administration Panels > Posts > Categories.

Now try this:

  • Mouse over Posts -> Add New -or- click on + New at top of the dashboard
  • Type: Hello World in the Tile box.
  • Type: This is my first post! in the big text area.
  • Click: the blue Publish button over on the right
  • Click: view page near the top of the page

Managing Media (Pictures & Videos)

Your site will probably look rather plain without some pictures! They say a picture is worth a thousand words, which is why it’s important for you to be able to quickly and easily upload images and media to WordPress. Drag and drop your media into the uploader to add it to your website. Add alt text, captions, and titles, and insert images and galleries into your content. You may have some photos, and they may need a little adjustment to make them suitable. You can get images from the web, but take care about the legality. We’ll show you where to get free pictures! We’ll also introduce you to basic image editing.

Adding images in WordPress is very easy. All of your images will be stored and can be managed in the Media Library, but you can take several different paths to get there.

The most common path is adding an image directly to a post or page. This automatically saves the image in the Media Library and displays the image wherever you inserted it.

You can also add images directly to the Media Library through the multi-file loader or the single-file loader. For advanced user, you can upload images directly using an FTP Client.

Adding Images Through Pages/Posts

When writing or editing a post, you can add an image using the Add Media button above the editor box. This opens a window that displays the multi-file uploader. From here you can drag and drop your picture or select it using the file selector.

The images you add here will be automatically added to the Media Library.

Adding Images Directly To The Media Library

If you want to upload an image for a future post, from the dashboard go to Media –> Add New. From here you can bulk upload multiple images before you know which post you want them to go into.

  • Copying & Creating Media
  • Adding images and videos
  • Embedding YouTube videos
  • Using the Media Library
  • Galleries & Portfolios

Structuring Your Site

This is where the fun really begins! You probably have much more than the home page that you want your visitors to see – so you need a menu and search box. Widgets are ‘gadgets’ that also help to engage and inform your visitors, e.g. a calendar of events, or how about a tag cloud?

  • Menus & Widgets
  • Creating and arranging your menus
  • Working with Widgets

Themes: Making Your Site Look Great!

WP-themes

Get New Themes

The WordPress Theme Directory is the official site for WordPress Themes which have been checked and inspected, and are free for downloading. The site features the ability to search by type and style, and offers a demonstration of the page view elements of the Theme.

Using Themes

WordPress currently comes with three themes: the default Twenty Fourteen theme and previous defaults Twenty Thirteen theme andTwenty Twelve theme. You can switch between Themes using the Appearance admin panel. Themes that you add to the theme directory will appear in the Administration Screen > Appearance > Themes as additional selections.

Adding New Themes

Appearance Panel

There are many Themes available for download that will work with your WordPress installation. If the Theme that you are installing provides instructions, be sure to read through and follow those instructions for the successful installation of the Theme.

Adding New Themes using the Administration Panels

You can download Themes directly to your blog by using the Add New Themes option in the Appearance sub-menu.

  1. Log in to the WordPress Administration Panels.
  2. Select the Appearance panel, then Themes.
  3. Select Add New.
  4. Either use the Search or Filter options to locate a Theme you would like to use.
  5. Click on the Preview link to preview the Theme or the Install Now link to upload the Theme to your blog,
  6. Or use the Upload link in the top links row to upload a zipped copy of a Theme that you have previously downloaded to your machine.

Add functionality to your site with WordPress plugins

Plugins let you add features to your site, such as maps, contact forms, galleries, social networking, forums, social media widgets, spam protection, calendars, fine-tune controls for search engine optimization, and forms.

  • Overview of plugins
  • How to install plugins
  • Top 10 WordPress plugins
  • Using WordPress plugins
  • Shortcodes

Doing Business

Is your website going to be for business purposes? Perhaps you only need to inform people about your services, i.e. it’s a ‘shingle’. Or, you can use it to make money from advertising (easier said than done!), or by selling products online. We’ve done this ourselves. We’ll give you a quick overview; PayPal is the easiest option.

  • E-commerce & Making Money
  • Take online payments with PayPal
  • Legalities: privacy policy & terms & conditions

Configuring WordPress

We’ll go through this part rather quickly – you probably want to leave the settings as they are for now (except the permalinks), but you need to know what’s in here for future reference.

  • General settings
  • Discussion settings
  • Permalink settings
  • Privacy settings
  • Reading settings
  • Writing settings
  • Miscellaneous settings

Visitor Interaction

Engaging with visitors can be very satisfying; it can also be very frustrating. You probably already know that there are ‘bad people’ out there. Sadly, if they find out that they can post links on your site, they’ll tell you how wonderful you are in hopes that you won’t notice where their links go… However, there are precautions you can take.

  • Comments & Spam, Spam, Spam
  • How to monitor and moderate comments
  • How to stop spam
  • Blogs & Forums
  • Contact Forms & Maps
  • The Social Web: Facebook, Twitter etc

Administration & Users

If there are several people contributing to your site you’ll need to understand user roles. Not everyone requires the same access to your website. Administrators manage the site, editors work with content, authors and contributors write that content, and subscribers have a profile that they can manage. This lets you have a variety of contributors to your website, and let others simply be part of your community.

You’ll need to know about best security practices, and backing up your site in case of server failure.

  • The WordPress Dashboard
  • Managing WordPress users & profiles
  • WordPress User Roles explained
  • Administrative Tasks, Security, Backing Up
  • Upgrading WordPress
  • Importing and exporting data

Getting & Monitoring Traffic

So now you have a beautiful, wonderful website! But how will people find it? You can help the search engines to find it, and to know exactly what it’s about. This is called Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). If that’s not enough, you can buy advertising from companies, such as Google.

  • Making WordPress search engine friendly
  • Tracking traffic & visitor: site statistics
  • Search Engines & Promotion/SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
  • Sitemaps
  • Google: Analytics, AdWords, Webmaster Tools, Trends and Keyword
  • How to make sure your website is optimised for Search Engines
  • Use ‘pretty url’s’ that will improve ‘click through’ rates
  • Tagging and categorising your posts – how to do it and why it’s important
  • Best practices when linking

How to take advantage of the social web

  • Sharing your content on other social networks
  • Adding ‘Share’ buttons
  • Adding a newsletter
  • How to integrate your content with Twitter and Facebook
  • How to add an online community to your website.


Some of this page was adapted from the WordPress Codex.

Support is available here.

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